Thursday, 26 December 2013

US mom uses social media to scatter son's ashes

Auburn - For 3 ½ years, a black stone urn of CJ Twomey's ashes has sat on a shelf in his parents' Maine home, not far from the door he walked out of one beautiful April day and shot himself.
Now, his mother, Hallie Twomey, is using social media to enlist the help of strangers to scatter his ashes from Massachusetts to Japan in the hope that her adventure-loving son can become part of the world he left behind.
It started with a simple request on Facebook. Soon, friends and strangers started offering to scatter CJ's ashes in their hometowns, on a family vacation or just somewhere beautiful.
Twomey says the kindness has been overwhelming, but she still struggles to find peace over her son's death.

Facebook. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Cloud: Nigeria to overtake South Africa in 2014

Research study across organisations in three major African countries namely: South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya has revealed that Nigeria will overtake South Africa in Cloud uptake by 2014, with considerable investments about to be made in the sector.
This was the key finding of the Cloud in Africa: Reality Check 2013 research study1, released by World Wide Worx and Cisco.
The report said this will be possible following an explosion of Cloud computing uptake expected to take place in Africa’s major economies, as businesses gain confidence in both the security and reliability of the Cloud in these countries.
South Africa currently leads the continent in Cloud Computing including Nigeria and Kenya, which trail behind with  wide percentage margin.
The study was conducted among a small but representative sample of senior information technology decision-makers in medium-sized and large companies in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.
Survey Key Findings
The most significant finding from the study was that, while South Africa currently leads the continent in Cloud uptake, it is about to be overtaken by Nigeria with a wide margin.
In 2013, 50 per cent South African medium and large businesses were using Cloud services; while a slightly lower proportion of 48 percent are using the Cloud in Kenya.
Nigeria lags substantially behind the two countries with only 36 per cent of businesses currently using the Cloud. A significant 44 per cent of Nigerian businesses during the study said they will embrace the Cloud in the coming year, bringing the total in the country to 80 per cent by the end of 2014.
This compares to 24 percent of organisations in Kenya and only 16 per cent in South Africa, saying they will be taking up Cloud in 2014.
According to the study, the key to the rapid adoption of Cloud computing in Nigeria and Kenya was found in the growing confidence that IT decision-makers have in the environment. “Even where confidence is not high, distrust in Cloud has almost entirely disappeared,” revealed the report.
The survey showed that 57 per cent of decision-makers across the three countries had high confidence in the security of the Cloud, while a further 34 per cent were neutral, meaning they would wait and see, but were not negatively disposed towards it. Only one in 10 respondents said they did not trust security in the Cloud.
An even higher level of confidence was expressed in the reliability of the Cloud: 73 percent of respondents across the three countries expressed high confidence, while most of the rest, 25 per cent were neutral on reliability.
Private Cloud is the most popular in 2013 with 25 percent or organisations surveyed currently deploying this compared to 13 per cent opting for Hybrid Cloud and only, with about seven per cent of companies opting for the Public Cloud.
In 2014, this trend is expected to continue with 32 per cent of companies opting for the Private Cloud compared to 18 per cent for Hybrid Cloud and 16 per cent for Public Cloud.
The most popular category for cloud use today according the report is storage, with 28 per cent of companies followed by 10 per cent of companies surveyed.
Cisco’s Vice President for Africa, David Meads, said “Cloud computing is the next big step in the evolution of computing and the Internet. The broadband revolution sweeping Africa and the continent’s reputation for innovation add up to tremendous appetite for services that will drive this evolution.
“Looking ahead,  the Internet of “Everything represents the largest online trend today. As more people, things and devices connect to the Internet in Africa, more data from more places will be introduced across corporate and service provider networks, which will open up new opportunities and increased demand for the Cloud,”
For the Managing Director of World Wide Worx,  Arthur Goldstuck, the fact that no one is expressing doubt about the reliability of the Cloud means that the final pieces of the puzzle are falling into place. Now the Cloud becomes real in Africa.
Cisco Global Cloud Index Projected Cloud traffic is expected to dominate data centres in the third annual Cisco Global Cloud Index (2012 – 2017).
The projection also forecasted that global cloud traffic, the fastest growing component of data centre traffic, is expected to grow 4.5-fold – a 35 percent combined annual growth rate from 1.2 zettabytes of annual traffic in 2012 to 5.3 zettabytes by 2017.
It further indicated that about 17 percent of data center traffic in the world will be fueled by end users accessing clouds for web surfing, video streaming, collaboration and connected devices, all of which contribute to the Internet of Everything, which is the networked connection of people, data, process and things.
”People all over the world continue to demand the ability to access personal, business and entertainment content anywhere on any device and each transaction in a virtualized, cloud environment can cause cascading effects on the network.
“Because of this continuing trend, we are seeing huge increases in the amount of cloud traffic globally within, between and beyond data centres over the next four years,” said Meads.
From a regional perspective, the Cisco Global Cloud Index predicts that through 2017, the Middle East and Africa will have the highest cloud traffic growth rate of 57 percent followed by Asia Pacific with 43 percent and Central and Eastern Europe with 36 percent.

Police dispels bomb explosion rumour in Abakaliki

Abuja - The Police Public Relations Officer, Chris Anyanwu on Tuesday dispelled a rumour of a bomb explosion in Abakaliki.

He said that its bomb disposal unit near an old generation bank in Abakaliki discovered a black jelly substance in a 25 litre Jerry can.

Anyanwu, who gave description of the substance, maintained that it was not an improvised explosive device.
He also dismissed rumour of insecurity in the Ezillo axis of Abakaliki-Enugu expressway and enjoined motorists to go about their lawful business without fear.

A resident, Pastor Emmanuel Okoro, described incident as unfortunate and disturbing, especially now that the people were carrying out final preparation to celebrate the Christmas.
A trader at the scene, Mary Ugwu said that she was scared to death when she heard it was a bomb.
"I was really shocked because I taught it was boko haram people and I wondered how such could happen in Abakaliki.
"My brother it was not a joke," she said.

80 Nigerian deportees arrive back in Abuja

Abuja - The first group of 80 Nigerians to be repatriated from Saudi Arabia arrived at the Nnamid Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on Wednesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the deportees arrived in the country on board an Ethiopian Airline plane at about noon.
Daniel Obot, the assistant director of relief and rehabilitation for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), told newsmen at the Airport that the deportees were part of the 508 Nigerians residing illegally in Saudi Arabia.
He said the Federal Government approved their repatriation after they voluntarily agreed to return home, adding that they would be handed over to officials of their State Emergency Management Agency after due clearance.
Also speaking to newsmen, the director consular and immigration services in the ministry of foreign affairs, Abdulazeez Dan-Kano, said the 80 deportees were from eight states of the country.
Dan-Kano said that 31 of the deportees are from Kano State, 19 from Borno, three from Bauchi State and eight from Jigawa.
Similarly, he said that seven of the deportees are from Yobe, two from Plateau, nine from Katsina State and one from Nasarawa State.
Dan-Kano said that those deported were mainly women, children and the sick.
He said that more deportees were expected to arrive in the country on Thursday.
Dan Kano said that the deportees indicated their interest to return to Nigeria following a November deadline issued by the Saudi Authorities for all illegal immigrants to leave the country.
He said that 951 other Nigerians arrested by the Saudi authorities were being held in a camp in the country, and that they would return home at the instance of the Saudi government.

Iyanya denies buying four cars in one day

In a recent interview Kukere crooner, Iyanya Mbuk denied online reports that he bought four luxury cars in one day, according to Dailystar.

The artist blames the rumors on the recent endorsement deals he has with MTN, Zinox Computers and Solo Phones, and the fact that his appearance fees has tripled.

The singer says that anytime he posts pictures of  his cars or money on Instragram, it’s his way of reminding encouraging people to stay true to their talents because the financial reward is worth the wait.

 Iyanya advised musicians to invest their earnings in other businesses and pronounced that he was looking at investing in  the oil and gas sector by 2014.

Read more at Dailystar

Sex, drugs and beards: an afternoon in a Pakistani porn cinema

Peshawar - Three times a day dozens of men pack the auditorium, the air heavy with hashish smoke, to watch graphic sex movies: welcome to the Shama -- a pornographic cinema in Pakistan's Taliban heartland.
For more than 30 years it has supplied erotic fantasies in Peshawar, the main city of northwestern Pakistan which borders the tribal districts that are a haven for Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants.
Terrified of being recognised, the Shama's customers hide their faces as they make their way to the cinema between a goat market and a bus station.
There are three X-rated shows a day in the Shama's discreet back room, while the main hall is reserved for mainstream movies -- the only ones advertised outside.
"Class X" customers pay 200 rupees ($1.90) and after a brief search by a Kalashnikov-toting guard, they are whisked through a courtyard and down a concrete passageway.
Inside the auditorium a thick cloud of cannabis smoke hangs over the 20-odd rows of tattered fake-leather seats.
During one showing, the hall was more than half full, populated by labourers, farmers, students and others who had come to escape the day-to-day claustrophobia of life in a deeply conservative Muslim region where family and neighbours keep a close eye on everything.
Most arrive alone and want to remain so, arranging themselves around the seats to avoid sitting next to anyone.
They are all soon gripped by the drama of the day's offering, "Dostana" ("Friendship"), a semi-amateur production made for the Shama in the more liberal eastern city of Lahore.
The plot hinges on a romantic dilemma: the hero, Shah Sawar ("the Horseman" in the local language) cannot decide whether to marry his sweetheart Gulpana or his cousin Doa, chosen for him as a wife by his family.
He decides to "test" his would-be brides and much of the film's two hours is taken up with long and extremely graphic sex scenes between the Horseman and his paramours.
A reverential hush reigns over the audience throughout, broken only by a few suspicious noises from certain rows, while at least half sneak out before the end.
Sex sellsThe formula has made the Shama one of Peshawar's most successful cinemas at a time when many others have been forced to close.
The Islamisation that Pakistan witnessed in the 1980s persuaded many that the silver screen was a sinful depravation bad for the soul of a good Muslim.
The rise of videos, DVDs and the Internet accelerated the decline and now of around 15 cinemas in Peshawar 20 years ago, only seven remain.
Three of them show pornography, sometimes discreetly via clips hidden part way through mainstream action movies. The Shama, the best-known of the three, is regularly full, with tickets three or four times the price of normal films.
Key to its success is showing local-made pornography, which is much harder to find in Peshawar -- or on the Internet -- than Western adult films.
Coming to see "Dostana" for a second time, Khaliq Khan, 30, said: "Like a lot of people here I prefer films with Pakistani girls. It's better, it seems more amateur, more real."
"Dostana" is certainly amateurish, with actors regularly turning to the camera quizzically, looking for direction for their next move.
The dialogue is dubbed in Pashto, the main language of the northwest, with an enthusiasm somewhat at odds with the bored, uninterested way the actors seem to be speaking in the original Punjabi.
But Janus Khan is quite happy. After the screening the labourer, 22, admitted he regularly came to the Shama "to enjoy myself, alone or with one or two friends".
"I'm not very pious but I'm not a rapist or unfaithful," he told AFP.
Powerful ownersThe Shama has provoked controversy in Pakistan, a constitutional Islamic republic with a very conservative attitude to sex and nudity.
Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), one of the country's leading religious political parties, has demanded the closure of the cinema.
But the cinema has powerful owners -- the Bilour family, one of the most influential in Peshawar and a pillar of the Pashtun nationalist ANP party.
Twice in the last 10 years Islamist activists including JI students have attacked the Shama, but both times the cinema has risen again.
Burned down in September 2012, it reopened a month later just in time for the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, which saw the Shama full.
How the cinema has avoided the attentions of the government censors, who cut even kissing from films, and the Taliban, who have destroyed countless supposedly "immoral" CD and DVD shops in recent years, is not clear.
In private, officials point to the wealth and influence of the Bilours -- always useful in a chaotic and corrupt country.
Back on the screen, "Dostana" draws to its conclusion with the indecisive Shah Sawar drowning his sorrows in alcohol.
Still unable to decide he summons the two women for a final menage-a-trois and in the film's climax at last resolves to marry them both.

Justin Bieber 'officially retiring'

Los Angeles - Teen pop megastar Justin Bieber has set Twitter ablaze with a message suggesting he may be stepping away from the stage - just as his new movie hits theaters on Christmas Day.
"My beloved beliebers I'm officially retiring," the 19-year-old Bieber said on Twitter to his nearly 48 million followers.
The message has been retweeted more than 240 000 times and comments from fans flooded the globally popular messaging site.
But a subsequent tweet from the Canadian teen idol left some doubt about his future plans.
"The media talks a lot about me. They make a up a lot of lies and want me to fail but I'm never leaving you, being a belieber is a lifestyle," he wrote.
Then, Bieber tweeted a trailer for his latest movie, Justin Bieber's Believe, which opens in US theatres on Wednesday, and "Merry Christmas everyone. Be kind to one another."
He told a Los Angeles radio station last week that he was "quitting music, quitting everything", saying: "I'm going to go [play] golf."
The singer has recently run into trouble during his Believe tour in both Brazil and Australia, where he was accused of spraying graffiti on hotel walls.
He caused outrage in Argentina by stepping on an Argentine flag thrown onto the stage during a concert. And he was photographed in Rio de Janeiro leaving a notorious brothel.

Jonathan: Nigeria belongs to all

Abuja - President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday admonished politicians and statesmen that were heating up the polity saying that the country belongs to all Nigerians.
The president was speaking at the Christmas day service at the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Anglican Communion, Gwarimpa, Abuja.
He said that the nation belonged to every Nigerian;, "the common man,  traditional rulers, religious leaders, our men, our women."
Jonathan specifically cautioned the politicians against making inflammatory statements that could heat up the polity in the name of politics.
"For us at this time especially, we the politicians, we think we own this country and begin to think about next election and doing what we ought not to do, making statement we ought not to make, writing letters we suppose not to write.
"This country belongs to our statesmen, traditional rulers, religious leaders, our men, our women, our youth. Nigeria does not belong to any politician or group of politicians.’’
The president called on Nigerians to use the occasion of the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ to pray for the country to overcome its challenges, particularly, insecurity.
He noted that his administration had done appreciably well in addressing the challenge of terrorism.
"For those who know about terrorism, countries that are infested with terror hardly get out of it."
He gave the example of the incidences in Abuja, saying even the police headquarters was bombed as well as the UN building right here in the seat of government.
But for the proactive measure taken by the government and our military, may be the next target would have been the State House, Jonathan lamented.
"So, we have to thank God that we have been able to bring it to a reasonable level, though we are far from getting there.
"There are a lot of challenges but we have to thank God," he said.
Jonathan also reiterated that his style of leadership was neither high handed nor dictatorial as expected in some quarters.
Citing Biblical reference, the president said that the Jews expected Jesus Christ as a saviour that would liberate them even with violence, from the Roman's invasion.
"Whenever we go through the story of Christ and leadership, it reminds you of the circumstances of the Jew in the face of the political situation today.
"When Christ was born, the Jews were told that God has giving them a King, a saviour, these are the key words.
"The Jews were being dominated by the Romans, it was like when we were under the colonial masters, the Romans were governing them.
“So, when they said that there was born a king and a Messiah, they were thinking they were getting somebody who will come and lead them to war and throw away all the Romans for them to be free.
"But when Christ was born, I believe a number of the Jews were disappointed, the war they expected was not his own style.
"So today, we have similar situation, the expectations of the people are hardly met by leaders," he said.
The president assured that his administration would do its best to lead the country aright and to its desired destination.
Earlier, in a sermon focused on peace and joy, the Archbishop of Abuja, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, said Christmas was a reminder of the peace and joy that the birth of Jesus Christ brought to the world.
Okoh, who is also the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, said that Jesus Christ came to reconcile God with man and to take the sins of mankind away and make the world a better place.
According to him, enduring peace can only be found in Jesus Christ, adding that "by nature, God is peaceful.
Okoh urged Nigerians, especially Christians, to embrace the lessons of Christmas, to be a source of peace and joy to others
He added that  it was in the interest of the country to ensure that peace reigned as there was no other country to go to.
The clergy urged Nigerians not to join anyone to cause trouble that could lead to a situation of war.
Prayers were offered for the peace of the nation, the president, his family and all Nigerians.
Those present at the Church service include, the mother of the President, Madam Eunice, First lady, Dame Patience, and Sen. Phillip Aduda, PDP-FCT.
The ministers of information, Labaran Maku, police affairs, Caleb Olubolade and the minister of state, FCT, Jumoke Akinjide, service chiefs and presidential aides were also at the service

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Scientists discover second, secret DNA code

Washington - Scientists have long believed that DNA tells the cells how to make proteins. But the discovery of a new, second DNA code on Thursday suggests the body speaks two different languages.
The findings in the journal Science may have big implications for how medical experts use the genomes of patients to interpret and diagnose diseases, researchers said.
The newfound genetic code within deoxyribonucleic acid, the hereditary material that exists in nearly every cell of the body, was written right on top of the DNA code scientists had already cracked.
Rather than concerning itself with proteins, this one instructs the cells on how genes are controlled.
Its discovery means DNA changes, or mutations that come with age or in response to viruses, may be doing more than what scientists previously thought, he said.
"For over 40 years we have assumed that DNA changes affecting the genetic code solely impact how proteins are made," said lead author John Stamatoyannopoulos, University of Washington associate professor of genome sciences and of medicine.
"Now we know that this basic assumption about reading the human genome missed half of the picture," he said.
"Many DNA changes that appear to alter protein sequences may actually cause disease by disrupting gene control programmes or even both mechanisms simultaneously."
Scientists already knew that the genetic code uses a 64-letter alphabet called codons.
But now researchers have figured out that some of these codons have two meanings.
Coined duons, these new elements of DNA language have one meaning related to protein sequence and another that is related to gene control.
The latter instructions "appear to stabilise certain beneficial features of proteins and how they are made," the study said.
The discovery was made as part of the international collaboration of research groups known as the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements Project, or ENCODE.
It is funded by the US National Human Genome Research Institute with the goal of finding out where and how the directions for biological functions are stored in the human genome.

Jupiter moon Europa water jets amaze experts

San Francisco - New observations from the Hubble Space Telescope show jets of water vapour blasting off the southern pole of Europa, an ice-covered moon of Jupiter that is believed to hold an underground ocean, scientists said on Thursday.

If confirmed, the discovery could affect scientists' assessments of whether the moon has the right conditions for life, planetary scientist Kurt Retherford, with the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, told reporters at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco.

"We've only seen this at one location right now, so to try to infer that there's a global effect as a result of this is a little difficult at this time," Retherford said.

Researchers using the Hubble Space Telescope found 200km-high plumes of water vapour shooting off from Europa's south polar region in December 2012.

The jets were not seen during Hubble observations of the same region in October 1999 and November 2012. The now-defunct Galileo spacecraft, which made nine passes by Europa in the late 1990s, likewise did not detect any plumes.

Gravitational stresses

Scientists believe the water vapour may be escaping from cracks in Europa's southern polar ice that open due to gravitational stresses when the moon is farthest from Jupiter.

"When Europa is close to Jupiter, it gets stressed and the poles get squished and the cracks close up. Then, as it moves further away from Jupiter, it becomes un-squished, the pole moves outward and that's when the cracks open," said planetary scientist Francis Nimmo, with the University of California in Santa Cruz.

The plumes also could be the result of frictional heating from rubbing ice blocks or a fortuitously timed comet impact, scientists said.

Similar jets have been detected on Saturn's moon Enceladus, which because it has 12 times less gravity than Europa, can shoot its plumes much farther into space.

Scientists find it interesting that both Europa and Enceladus, which is being studied by the Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft, are pumping out about the same amount of water vapour, roughly seven tons per second.

"We were really kind of surprised by the number... and we're grasping what that means," Retherford said.

Additional Hubble observations are planned, as well as a review of archived Galileo data taken when Europa was farthest away from Jupiter.

"Now that we know where [the plumes] are, that narrows the window that we have in comparison to the passes that we've made," said Nasa's planetary sciences chief, Jim Green.

"I think we'll have some other great results, or another controversy," he said.

Twitter 'tired' of Mandela

Cape Town - The news of Nelson Mandela's death may have captivated the public discourse, but social media reveals that interest has declined quickly.

The outpouring of grief and commentary on social media platforms was verified by statistics provided by Twitter tracker, which showed that over six million tweets on Mandela were recorded on 5 December.

But this number was a peak and quickly dropped off, despite continued media coverage across online, print and broadcast mediums.

Even the funeral ceremony for Mandela on Sunday generated only 328 000 tweets, far below the peak, despite massive media coverage.

Viewed over the period of a month prior, tweets on Mandela added up to over 13 million, significantly higher than US President Barack Obama at 5.2 million.

However these numbers pale in comparison to pop star Justin Bieber who amassed in excess of 41 million tweets over the same period.

The death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden holds the Twitter record for an individual with a peak tweet rate of over 206 000 missives per minute, far above Mandela at a maximum peak of 95 000 tweets per minute.

Fickle social media

A Pew research study recently found that sentiment on social media can shift quickly. In the US, Twitter sentiment on same sex marriage shifted from 55% negative to 43% positive in a period of just one month.

The research noted that social media sentiment may match public opinion, but it was not a reliable indicator.

As an example, 64% on Twitter supported stricter gun control after the tragic mass shooting in Newton, Connecticut, but this sentiment has not been repeated in public opinion surveys.

In South Africa, despite huge social media sentiment against e-tolls, as well as political opposition, the programme was nevertheless rolled out.

There is still much debate on the value of retweets or likes on Facebook in terms of what value it offers to both brands and individuals.

"The value of Social Media endorsements is always been a hotly debated topic," Gordon Geldenhuys, head of Online Reputation Management at Acceleration Media told News24.

He said that the value of a social media endorsement was linked to the kind of business, rather than directly related to sales.

"There are good arguments for or against establishing a standardised value for social metrics such as value of a retweet or value of a Facebook like. However, many have arrived at the understanding that it's relative to the business and there seems to be growing consensus that the value of a retweet or a Facebook like has everything to do with the nature of the business itself."

Airwaves ban: Nigerian Musicians plot Christmas strike

Lagos - Nigerian musicians are planning to boycott  all events during the holidays to protest the ban imposed by Independence Broadcast Association of Nigeria (IBAN) and Broadcast Organization of Nigeria (BON), according to  Nigerian Entertainment Today (NET) .

The affected banned musicians reached this decision at a stakeholders interactive session that held  on December 10 at Rumours Night Club, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos.

At the venue the musicians agreed to withdraw their services from events during the Christmas holiday, if the feud between COSON and BON was not settled soon.

 The ban of 96  Nigerian musicians from getting airplay on radio and Television is caused by an ongoing feud  between Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) and the joint alliance of  IBAN and BON.

The musicians banned are members of COSON. 

COSON are responsible for collecting  royalties for Nigerian musicians from radio and television stations.

COSON has taken several users of musical works to court, ranging from hotels to broadcasting stations like  DStv, Silverbird and Cool FM.

BON says that it is trying to break the COSON strangle hold on handling the royalties of artists in Nigeria.

Tears of sadness as Hollywood loses another acting legend

London — Known on the one hand for his starring role in Lawrence of Arabia, leading tribesmen in daring attacks across the desert wastes, and on the other for his headlong charges into drunken debauchery, Peter O'Toole was one of the most magnetic, charismatic and fun figures in British acting.
O'Toole, who died Saturday at age 81 at the private Wellington Hospital in London after a long bout of illness, was nominated a record eight times for an Academy Award without taking home a single statue.
He was fearsomely handsome, with burning blue eyes and a penchant for hard living which long outlived his decision to give up alcohol. Broadcaster Michael Parkinson told Sky News television it was hard to be too sad about his passing.
"Peter didn't leave much of life unlived, did he?" he said.
A reformed — but unrepentant — hell-raiser, O'Toole long suffered from ill health. Always thin, he had grown wraithlike in later years, his famously handsome face eroded by years of outrageous drinking.
But nothing diminished his flamboyant manner and candor.
"If you can't do something willingly and joyfully, then don't do it," he once said. "If you give up drinking, don't go moaning about it; go back on the bottle. Do. As. Thou. Wilt."
O'Toole began his acting career as one of the most exciting young talents on the British stage. His 1955Hamlet, at the Bristol Old Vic, was critically acclaimed.
International stardom came in David Lean's epic Lawrence of Arabia. With only a few minor movie roles behind him, O'Toole was unknown to most moviegoers when they first saw him as T.E. Lawrence, the mythic British World War I soldier and scholar who led an Arab rebellion against the Turks.
His sensitive portrayal of Lawrence's complex character garnered O'Toole his first Oscar nomination, and the spectacularly photographed desert epic remains his best known role. O'Toole was tall, fair and strikingly handsome, and the image of his bright blue eyes peering out of an Arab headdress in Lean's film was unforgettable.
Playwright Noel Coward once said that if O'Toole had been any prettier, they would have had to call the movie Florence of Arabia.
Prime Minister David Cameron said Sunday the movie was his favorite film, calling O'Toole's performance "stunning."
Actor Will Ferrell also remembered Lawrence of Arabia.
"My father took me to see a re-release of Lawrence of Arabia on the big screen and I couldn't get over how amazing that movie looked for the time it was shot and how charismatic he was on screen," Ferrell said Sunday at the New York premiere of Anchorman 2.
 ''You hear a name like Peter O'Toole, you hear these names and you go, 'uh, yeah, OK, they were movie stars,' then you watch them on film and you go, 'they really were movie stars."
His work
In 1964's Becket, O'Toole played King Henry II to Richard Burton's Thomas Becket, and won another Oscar nomination. Burton shared O'Toole's fondness for drinking, and their off-set carousing made headlines.
O'Toole played Henry again in 1968 in The Lion in Winter, opposite Katharine Hepburn, for his third Oscar nomination.
Four more nominations followed: in 1968 for Goodbye, Mr. Chips, in 1971 for The Ruling Class, in 1980 forThe Stunt Man, and in 1982 for My Favorite Year. It was almost a quarter-century before he received his eighth and last, for Venus.
For writer-producer Judd Apatow, in addition to Lawrence of Arabia, My Favorite Year, also stands out. "I related to the comedy writer hanging out with the mad actor because I've done that a few times," he said at the Anchorman 2 premiere.
His life
Seamus Peter O'Toole was born Aug. 2, 1932, the son of Irish bookie Patrick "Spats" O'Toole and his wife Constance. There is some question about whether Peter was born in Connemara, Ireland, or in Leeds, northern England, where he grew up, but he maintained close links to Ireland, even befriending the country's now-president, Michael D. Higgins.
Ireland and the world have "lost one of the giants of film and theater," Higgins said in a statement.
After a teenage foray into journalism at the Yorkshire Evening Post and national military service with the navy, a young O'Toole auditioned for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and won a scholarship.
He went from there to the Bristol Old Vic and soon was on his way to stardom, helped along by an early success in 1959 at London's Royal Court Theatre in "The Long and The Short and The Tall."
The image of the renegade hell-raiser stayed with O'Toole for decades, although he gave up drinking in 1975 following serious health problems and major surgery.
He did not, however, give up smoking unfiltered Gauloises cigarettes in an ebony holder. That and his penchant for green socks, voluminous overcoats and trailing scarves lent him a rakish air and suited his fondness for drama in the old-fashioned "bravura" manner.
A month before his 80th birthday in 2012, O'Toole announced his retirement from a career that he said had fulfilled him emotionally and financially, bringing "me together with fine people, good companions with whom I've shared the inevitable lot of all actors: flops and hits."
"However, it's my belief that one should decide for oneself when it is time to end one's stay," he said. "So I bid the profession a dry-eyed and profoundly grateful farewell."
In retirement, O'Toole said he would focus on the third volume of his memoirs.

Actress had to quit sex for movie role

Los Angeles - Emma Thompson "didn't have sex" for half a year while filmingSaving Mr. Banks
The actress' image as Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers opposite Tom Hanks in the movie - which tells the true story of Walt Disney's battle to bring the novel to the big screen - was very prim and proper, which she admitted was a "nightmare".
She told Parade magazine: "It was a nightmare! People would bleat in the streets as I went by. I didn't have sex for six months!"
Although the movie was a retelling of Walt's campaign to adapt the book into a musical, many of Emma's roles have focused on love.
She insisted this is in part because of the parts available to women in Hollywood, and also down to ''love'' as an idea being all that matters.
Emma added: "Partly because it's one of the major areas in which women are allowed to take part. It's not as if I've got the same kind of choices as Brad Pitt in filmmaking.
"But also because love is the only thing that matters. Not just romantic love...there's affection, Eros, family's exactly what we're designed to do."

Ambulance crew races to Justin Bieber's house

Los Angeles - An ambulance crew raced to Justin Bieber's house after a girl passed out in the early hours of Saturday morning. 
The emergency services were called to the Never Say Never singer's home in Calabasas, California, at around 03:00 with reports of an unconscious 20-year old female; however, 15 minutes later they were called off.
The person who cancelled the emergency said the woman would be transported privately to hospital. However, a source told the matter wasn't as serious as thought and the woman regained consciousness, and insisted the emergency crew be called off.
A source told "There was no issue. A call was made out of an abundance of caution, but the woman was given some food and liquids and was fine and went home."
Justin, 19, was believed to be at home at the time of the emergency, and hosting a party.
The singer's gatherings are known to be wild, but what exactly goes on remains a mystery as the Confident star makes guests sign a confidentiality agreement upon entering the house, promising not to reveal details of Justin's "physical health, or the philosophical, spiritual or other views or characteristics". 
The agreement includes a ban on tweeting, blogging, taking photos or other forms of social media.
The document also warns how Justin's parties are "potentially hazardous and you should not participate unless you are medically able and properly trained". 
Anyone breaking the agreement leaves themselves open to be sued for up to $5m. 

Beyoncé album breaks iTunes sales record

San Francisco - Apple on Monday announced that music fans snapped up more than 800 000 digital versions of Beyoncé's new album in just three days, smashing an iTunes record.
The eponymous album titled simply Beyoncé sold 828 773 copies through the weekend, easily eclipsing a record set by Justin Timberlake after the March release of The 20/20 Experience, according to Apple.
Beyoncé's album was released exclusively in Apple's online iTunes Store and became a top seller in 104 countries, Apple said.
Beyoncé surprised fans Friday by releasing a previously unannounced fifth solo album on iTunes, bypassing customary record roll-outs and creating a sensation on the Internet.
Despite the lack of prior publicity, the self-titled album is an elaborate production, including videos shot around the world.
The pop diva returns to the feminist themes of her earlier works and, in some of her most intimate ballads yet, performs with her husband Jay-Z and their baby, Blue Ivy.
"I didn't want to release my music the way I've done it. I am bored with that. I feel like I am able to speak directly to my fans," Beyoncé said in the statement.
The work was described as a "visual album" because it included videos shot in an array of locations including Paris, Sydney, New York City, and Rio de Janeiro.

Chris Brown's probation revoked over US arrest

Los Angeles -  A judge on Monday revoked Chris Brown's probation after his recent arrest on suspicion of misdemeanor assault in Washington, D.C., but the ruling will not alter the singer's requirements to complete rehab and community labor for his 2009 attack on Rihanna.
Superior Court Judge James R. Brandlin cited details contained in an arrest report as his reason for revoking Brown's probation for the second time this year. He ordered Brown to return to court on 10 February for an update on his progress in rehab.
Prosecutors did not request that Brown be sent to jail during Monday's hearing.
In November, Brown was ordered to spend 90 days in a treatment program for anger management and other issues. Brandlin said probation officials reported the Grammy-winner was handling the program well in recent weeks.
"I'm pleased he's doing well" in treatment, the judge said.
Brandlin reviewed Brown's October arrest report filed after a man accused the R&B singer of hitting him outside the W Hotel in Washington. Brown and his bodyguard were initially charged with felony assault, but the case was reduced to a misdemeanor. Brown has been ordered to appear in a D.C. court on 8 January.
Brown's attorney Mark Geragos said he agreed with Brandlin's decision to revoke probation but not send his client to jail.
Probation revoked before
Brown's probation was revoked earlier this year over a misdemeanor hit-and-run in Los Angeles and concerns that he hadn't completed six months of community labor for his 2009 attack on Rihanna, who was his girlfriend at the time. 
Brandlin ordered the singer to perform an additional 1 000 hours, and Brown has so far completed 60, according to his probation report.
An official at Brown's rehab wrote in a letter included in the report that Brown is no longer taking medical marijuana and with the aid of other medications is now able to better "emotionally regulate himself". 
Brown voluntarily entered rehab after his 27 October arrest but was forced to leave the program after he threw a rock through his mother's car window after a treatment session. Brandlin ordered the singer back into rehab last month.
He was ordered to serve five years of probation for his pre-Grammy attack on Rihanna in 2009. 
He has until August to complete his community labor sentence, which requires him to perform roadside cleanup, graffiti removal or other supervised manual labor.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Microsoft, partners create opportunities for youth

Lagos - Microsoft, the global technology firm, has partnered with local youth platform, The Future Project, to launch an online employability and mentorship programme that enhances youth’s prospects of securing jobs.

Called the Aiki Nigeria, the programme features a web based job and training resource centre that aims to provide a guide in the areas of career planning, skill acquisition, entrepreneurship development, job sourcing and small business sustainability.

The online programme is expected to go live mid December.

At the unveiling of the programme in Lagos, Microsoft officials said Aiki Nigeria would help create jobs for a new generation of Nigerians and enabling them to contribute to the national economy.

“In working with organizations, technology enthusiasts and governments at every level, we have emphasised the crucial importance of jobs for a new generation of Nigerians. This programme is a major step in leading a coordinated solution to this urgent problem,” said Ugochukwu Nwosu, Microsoft Citizenship Manager for Anglophone West Africa.

Patrick Onwumere, Director of Youth Enablement at Microsoft Africa, noted that the launch of the platform coincided with Microsoft marking 20 years of operations in the continent.

He noted that Aiki Nigeria was part of its African Initiative.

Similar projects are ongoing in Egypt, Ivory Coast and Tunisia.

Chude Jideonwo, Executive Director of The Future Project, said the firm had always invested in enterprise and expanding opportunities for young people.

“Through our enterprise support scheme platform, we have over five years created a platform for young people to build a community of opportunities, to connect with capacity and build a shared future of value. We are glad to be partnering with Microsoft to scale up this engagement and to reach a deeper pool of the un-served across the country,” he said. 

Movie prank scares the living daylights out of innocent people waiting at a bus stop

Brasília – Prankvertising, a combination of pranking and advertising, has seen a rise in popularity lately.

In the latest viral stunt, an actor dressed up as Chucky, the diminutive Child’s Play villain, ambushes people waiting at bus stops by crashing through the glass of a ‘Curse of Chucky’ movie poster and proceeds to chase them with a large knife. 

The poor Brazilians had no clue what hit them.

Watch Video Here

Justin Bieber says he doesn't give a f*** what people say about him

Los Angeles - Justin Bieber doesn't "give a fuck" what people think of him.

The 19-year-old singer doesn't care how his antics such as visiting a brothel or annoying his neighbours with fast driving and wild parties are perceived because he is happy with the person he is becoming.

He said: "Not 'I don't give a fuck' to just be reckless and do whatever, but 'I don't give a fuck what [people] say.'

"I know who I am and what I'm doing in my life and what I've accomplished and continue to accomplish as a performer, as a writer, as an artist, as a person, as a human being. I'm happy with the man I'm becoming."

'I don't really like to say the word swag anymore'

The Believe hitmaker also admitted he only trusts his parents and manager Scooter Braun.

He told the new issue of The Hollywood Reporter: "You shouldn't trust anybody.

"I trust Scooter with my career, he's always made sure I'm taken care of. That's it."

And the Never Say Never hitmaker acknowledged his style is "very influenced by black culture" but insists he doesn't make choices to "pose".

He explained: "But I don't think of it as black or white. It's not me trying to act or pose in a certain way. It's a lifestyle - like a suaveness or a swag, per se. But I don't really like to say the word [swag] anymore. It's kind of played out."

Justin Bieber and his manager Scooter Braun on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter:
justin bieber
(Photo: Hollywood Reporter cover)